The House of Representatives has resolved to investigate the alleged failure of the Nigeria Police Force to account for firearms totalling 178,459 as of January 2020.
The move is in reaction to audit queries issued against the NPF by the Office of the Auditor-General of the Federation.
The office had recently said by the end of 2019, the Force Headquarters could not account for 178,459 police firearms, out of which 88,078 are AK-47 rifles, according to one of the eight queries issued against the NPF by the office.
The queries are contained in the ‘Auditor-General of the Federation’s Annual Report on Non-Compliance/Internal Control Weaknesses Issues in Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the Federal Government of Nigeria for the Year Ended 31st December, 2019.’
The Acting Auditor-General of the Federation, Adolphus Aghughu, had presented the report to the Clerk to the National Assembly, Ojo Amos, on September 15, 2021, while the Senate and House Committees on Public Accounts are investigating the queries.
At plenary on Thursday, the House mandated an ad hoc committee to “establish the veracity of those allegations and conduct due diligence of the control processes of the armoury of the Nigeria Police Force; and report back to the House within four weeks.”
The House also called on the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, to take urgent actions to apprehend those culpable for the depletion of the armoury of the NPF.
The Deputy Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu, had moved a motion of urgent public importance, which was titled ‘Need to investigate the alleged missing police firearms and ammunition of the Nigeria Police.’
Okechukwu said the House was aware of the findings in the report that the police high command failed to keep record of unserviceable and expired firearms and ammunition; owing to non-compliance to the internal control system of the NPF.
He said, “The House is worried that the value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.
“The House is mindful of the worsening state of security, kidnapping and banditry in the country and concerned that the missing arms could have found their ways into wrong hands.
“The House is also mindful that Nigeria did not undertake any war in recent times.”
In a query titled ‘Loss of Firearms and Ammunition,’ the Auditor-General said audit observed from the review of arms movement register, monthly returns of arms and ammunition, and the ammunition register at the Armoury Section that “the total number of lost firearms as reported as at December 2018 stood at 178,459.”
It added, “Out of this number, 88,078 were AK-47 rifles, 3,907 assorted rifles and pistols across different police formations could not be accounted for as at January 2020. Formal reports on the loss of firearms through duly completed Treasury Form 146 (Loss of Stores) were not presented for examination.
“Records obtained from Force Armament at the Force headquarters showed 21 Police Mobile Force Squadron, Abuja did not report a single case of missing firearm, whereas, schedule of missing arms obtained from the same PMF showed a total number of 46 missing arms between year 2000 and February 2019, and the value of the lost firearms could not be ascertained because no document relating to their cost of acquisition was presented for examination.”